Immigration reform advocates rally in Carson
Immigration reform advocates filled the exhibit hall at the Carson City fairgrounds Wednesday night, filling out hundreds of cards to send to Nevada’s U.S. senators, calling on them to put the issue in the national spotlight.
The organizing group, Reform Immigration for America, is staging events across the county this week to kick off an effort to put an immigration reform bill on the congressional agenda by next month, something President Barack Obama pledged to address while running for the White House.
About 350 people attended the event Wednesday evening that featured Latino speakers recounting their journey to the United States. A band entertained attendees who were served tacos as children played with red and blue balloons.
Elvira Diaz, who organized the Carson City rally with another planned in Reno today, said immigration reform would lead to more tax revenue for the United States.
“It’s a national campaign and what we want to do is fix a broken system so we can provide 12 million poor people who are undocumented a path for legalization,” said Diaz, adding the group is supporting a 700-page bill introduced by Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., in December that would overhaul the nation’s immigration system.
The bill would require undocumented immigrants to pay a fine among other penalties before starting a process toward legal status, but according to some national media reports the bill already has detractors on the right and left.
“It’s not free citizenship,” Diaz said. “It’s a procedure.”
Congress last addressed immigration reform in the summer of 2007, which failed to garner enough support in the Senate.
Among the organizations supporting Reform Immigration for America include the Nevada-based Si Se Puede Latino Democratic Caucus and the Progress Leadership Alliance of Nevada.
Mario Dela Rosa, a community organizer with PLAN, said the immigration reform supporters should be more organized in 2010 than they were in 2007 considering they are now using technologies such as text messaging to organize supporters and events.
“We know what we want and we know how to get it,” he said. “We are connecting people and that is our power.”